A former general manager and secretary of Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) who is on trial for receiving bribes over two years totalling more than $100,000 indicated in court on Tuesday (March 5) that he would throw in the towel.
Victor Wong Chee Meng’s trial was adjourned for the prosecution to prepare documents for him to enter a plea of guilt at a later date.
His lawyer Melanie Ho told District Judge John Ng that her client’s decision was borne out of “personal and other reasons”, without elaborating.
Wong currently faces 55 counts of graft for offences allegedly committed between December 2014 and September 2016 involving a combined amount of $107,336.50.
The 58-year-old purportedly took the kickbacks from Omar Chia Sin Lan, 62, the director and major shareholder of two firms, whose core business is the carrying out of works for town councils.
Chia’s two companies, 19-ANC Enterprise and 19-NS2 Enterprise, were awarded tenders and contracts by AMKTC worth millions of dollars during the time that Wong accepted the bribes. Chia also faces 55 counts of graft.
Abuse of power
At the start of their joint trial in September last year, Deputy Public Prosecutor Alan Loh told the court, “The lion’s share of the gratification, some $52,893.07, was in the form of entertainment expenses incurred by Victor Wong and Omar Chia at various KTV lounges and massage parlours, which the two frequented regularly at night.”
Wong also allegedly received a discount of about $13,500 on his purchase of a Toyota Altis owned by Chia’s two companies.
Chia also purportedly paid for about $30,000 in remittances to Wong’s mistress in China. He also allegedly paid for a mobile phone line that allowed Wong and his mistress to make free calls to China, and employed Wong’s daughter-in-law as a subcontractor of Chia’s companies.
“As the general manager of AMKTC, Victor Wong had the power and ability to influence the award of AMKTC projects. Victor Wong was expected to act with absolute probity, particularly because his job involved the administration of public funds,” said DPP Loh at the start of the trial.
“Instead of exercising his role impartially without favour, Victor Wong fell far short of the high standards of integrity demanded of his office and allowed himself to be cultivated by Omar Chia and had become beholden to him,” DPP Loh added.
In December 2016, it was reported that Wong was being investigated by anti-graft investigators. Wong, who worked for CPG Facilities Management – AMKTC’s managing agent – was asked to go on leave following a complaint filed against him in September 2016. He was removed from his positions at the town council in November that year.
AMKTC oversees the housing estates in Ang Mo Kio GRC. The town council’s chairman is Ang Hin Kee and the other six members are Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Gan Thiam Poh, Intan Azura Mokhtar, Koh Poh Koon, Lam Pin Min and Darryl David.
For each of their graft charges, Wong and Chia face a maximum punishment of a fine of up to $100,000 along with up to seven years’ jail.
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